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How to Collect and Ship Blood Specimens
  • The demographic information on the newborn screening card should be completed prior to specimen collection to allow for verification of patient identification.

  • Assure that date/time of birth, date/time of specimen collection, infant’s weight, transfusion information, and primary care provider are accurately recorded on the newborn screening card.

  • If possible hydrate the baby prior to specimen collection for better blood flow.

  • Warm the infant’s heel regardless of environmental temperature.

  • Follow standard precautions guidelines.

  • Select puncture site (lateral walking surface of the heel).

  • Wipe site with alcohol and allow to air dry to prevent contamination.

  • Wipe off the first drop of blood, as it may contain tissue fluids and dilute the specimen.

  • Allow a large drop of blood to form and touch the blood drop to the filter paper.

  • Check both the front and back of the card to assure that that blood has been absorbed through the filter paper.

  • If blood flow decreases, do not “milk” or squeeze the foot. If necessary, repeat the heel stick.

  • Do not touch the filter paper or blood spots, as contamination may occur.

  • Air dry specimen for a minimum of three hours on a clean, dry surface in a horizontal position.

  • Retain the “Sender’s Copy” of the demographic information for facility records.

  • Check the quality of the blood spots; specimens will be rejected if at least three blood spots do not meet the quality set forth by the Ohio Department of Health. Specimens can be considered unsatisfactory and rejected for the following reasons:

    • No blood on filter paper

    • Insufficient quantity of blood for test

    • Incomplete saturation of blood through filter paper

    • Supersaturated or layered blood on filter paper

    • Blood applied to both sides of filter paper

    • Blood appears clotted

    • Diluted, discolored, or contaminated specimen or filter paper

    • Excess serum or tissue fluids in specimen

    • Filter paper appears scratched or abraded

    • Blood spots not dried at least 3 hours prior to shipping

    • Specimen received by laboratory more than 14 days after collection

    • Number on filter paper does not match barcode on demographic sheet

    • Demographic information does not match blood (wrong baby drawn on card)

  • Immediately redraw any specimen that does not meet quality standards to avoid delaying newborn screening.

  • Fold the protective flap (attached to back of card) to cover blood spot.

  • Place the completed newborn screening card(s) in an envelope with the appropriate label for the overnight delivery service provided by Ohio Department of Health. Multiple cards may be placed in one envelope.

  • Specimens should be mailed daily. Do not batch several days’ worth of cards.

  • Do not place cards in plastic once blood is applied to the filter paper as it can affect test results.